Friday, April 23, 2010

How Jesus' Grave Clothes, And Appearance To The Disciples, Prove He Rose From The Dead: John 20:1-31

Text: John 20:1-31

Theme: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (20:30-31).

4. Post Resurrection Persuasion (20-21)
     A. Of Mary, John, and Peter (20a)
     B. Of the disciples (20b-21)

Chapter 20 offers the following proofs to convince the reader that Jesus rose from the dead: 1) grave clothes (v1-10), 2) appearance to Mary (v11-18), and 3) appearance to disciples (v19-31).  

1) Grave clothes (v1-10). If someone had stolen the body of Jesus, why would they take the time to unwrap it? Further, why would the wrappings not be strewn about? Why would they take the time to neatly fold the head covering, and put it in a place by itself? It seems that seeing the grave clothes, in the condition they were, persuaded Peter and John that Christ rose from the dead. 

2) Appearance to Mary (v11-18). Why did Jesus tell Mary to stop clinging to Him? The reason, "for I have not yet ascended to the Father" may mean that she does not have to cling to Him as if to keep from loosing Him, because He had not yet ascended to the Father. Also, He wanted her to go tell His "brethren" about the resurrection. Jesus proved His resurrection by appearing to Mary.  

3) Appearance to the disciples (v19-31). When Thomas was absent, the Lord appeared in the midst of the disciples, who were in a locked room. What does the statement, "Whose soever
sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained" (v23), mean? The words "they are remitted", and "they are retained" are, in Greek, in the perfect tense. The perfect tense "describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated" (Online Bible). Thus, the verse would read, "Whose soever sins ye remit (in the present), they have been remitted (already, in the past), and
whose soever sins ye retain, they have been retained (already in the past). Mark 2:7 says that only God can forgive sins.

The gospel of John (cf. 1:12; 3:18; 5:24; 8:24) makes it clear that whether a person receives forgiveness of sins or dies in his sins, depends on whether or not he believes on Jesus as Savior. The disciples (and all believers), in connection with receiving the Holy Spirit, and being sent to proclaim the gospel, can tell someone whether or not their sins have been forgiven, based on whether or not the person has trusted Jesus as Savior. This seems to be the meaning of the passage.

Thomas was not present when the Lord appeared to the disciples the first time, and claimed he would not believe unless He saw Jesus, put his finger in the nail holes, and put his hand in Jesus' pierced side. Eight days later, the disciples, including Thomas, assembled in a room where the doors were shut, and Jesus, again, appeared in their midst. He invited Thomas to put his finger in the nail hole, and thrust his hand into Jesus' side. Thomas there pronounced Jesus his "Lord" and "God". Even the most skeptical person, who would not believe Jesus rose, was convinced by this appearance of Jesus to the disciples.

Verses 30-31 seem to form the key passage of John's gospel. He has presented many signs, surrounded by teaching and testimony, to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. When one trusts Jesus as his Savior, he receives eternal life from God, and will never spend eternity in hell.

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